Windows 10: Now you can take calls to an Android phone from your PC

Microsoft makes headway with its ambitions to integrate the smartphone experience with Windows 10.

Here's how to take control of Windows 10 feature updates Don’t want to be surprised by unexpected upgrades? Ed Bott explains the three strategies you can use. Read more: https://zd.net/2mhWJ4l

The new Windows 10-to-Android calling feature that leaked last month is finally here for Windows 10 Insiders to test if they're on the Fast Ring. The feature brings Your Phone calling functionality that was originally exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 to all Android handsets. 

Microsoft on Tuesday released the latest Windows 10 20H1 preview and announced the new feature called 'Calls' that it showed off at last week's Surface event where it unveiled its Android-powered Surface Duo due out next year

The feature lets users answer calls to an Android phone from a PC and use its speakers, microphone, and screen to take calls. Besides answering incoming calls on a PC, users can make calls from the PC, decline calls on the PC with custom text, access recent call history, and transfer calls between a PC and Android phone. 

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

Calls is actually available to all Windows 10 Insiders on the 19H1 build, version 1903, or newer, while the Android phone must be on version 7.0 Nougat or higher. 

It also requires the September 10 Patch Tuesday update. Additionally, the PC needs to have Bluetooth radio. If you've got all this, then you're set to go with Microsoft's integrated phone-PC experience, which it's been toiling away at over the past few years. 

"This feature will gradually roll out to Insiders on 19H1 builds or newer, so it may take a few days to be available inside the Your Phone app," said Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc.  

Once Microsoft irons out a few remaining glitches, the Calls feature will bring it up to par with the experience iPhone users have with macOS in terms of handling calls.    

While Calls is getting closer with a broad rollout of the Your Phone feature, there are still some features that remain exclusive to Samsung's top Galaxy devices. 

Earlier this week Microsoft released the Link Your Phone feature to the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G, and the Galaxy Fold. It allows users to link the phone to the PC and send messages, manage notifications, sync photos, and mirror a phone to the PC. Previously this was exclusive to the Galaxy Note 10. The update also allows users to control phone apps from the PC.  

The effort is part of Microsoft's bigger goal to bring the PC and smartphone together and get Office apps into the hands of as many users as possible. Microsoft has 900 million Windows 10 users but there's a whole lot more Android users who could also be using Office.

SEE: Top 10 essential Android apps (September 2019 edition)

Its ambitions here can be seen in the partnership with Samsung to preinstall Microsoft Mobile Office, an app that lets users view and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents from one app. 

Interestingly, it's not available on the Google Play Store and either comes preinstalled on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or can be downloaded on other Galaxy devices from Samsung's App Store.  

For a run-down of where Microsoft could be heading, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley has written an informative piece on why this mobile Office package matters

More on Microsoft's Windows 10 Your Phone app